August 29 2014

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Beauty And The Beat: Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Forster Goes Blonde—And Goes Solo


It’s been two years since indie dream pop trio Au Revoir Simone went on a hiatus, but singer and keyboardist Erika Forster has found a way to keep busy with a newly launched solo project. “I wanted to still do music and I felt like, ‘Well, I have everything set up for me to do this, so I need to just see what happens.’ I just started experimenting,” she says of her self-titled debut EP, out this week. As with Miuccia Prada-favorite Au Revoir Simone (who are now back together and presently working on their fourth album), the tracks on Erika Spring showcase Forster’s dulcet voice and knack for ethereal, just-the-right-side-of-sweet melodies. Here, caught up with the Brooklyn-based musician to find out her eco-friendly beauty favorites, why silk is a touring musician’s best friend, and why blondes really do have more fun.

What’s the biggest difference between working solo versus with a group?
It’s really nice in the band [because] I always have two people that I trust to bounce ideas off of. Sometimes I feel a little, like, I don’t know the answer to the question and I’m going to have to figure it out. But I also have to say it’s allowed me to meet other amazing creative people—like Jorge [Elbrecht], who produced [my album]. Just having those experiences were really positive.

Besides going solo, you’ve also gone from brunette to blonde—another big change, I imagine.
I had been wanting to do it for a long time. I’ve had every kind of blonde since then; I started slowly and then I went all the way to platinum, which was fun, but it was really hard to keep it up. Now I’ve settled down. I’ve found my blonde! The girl who does it is amazing. I go to Aura Friedman at Serge Normant at John Frieda in [New York's] Meatpacking District. She has great ideas; when I first started getting my hair done by her, we were putting a lot of really pale pastel pinks in. She also has a really great color Tumblr [] that’s just so beautiful. She’s an artist.

Did going blonde have any effect on your personality?
I feel like at the time that I did it, I really needed to lighten up in a very spiritual and all-encompassing way. I didn’t think about it that way then, but looking back, I wanted to just have this physical change. I think stereotypes about blondes are annoying but some of them are really true—in many ways I feel like my personality fits being blonde.

What do you rely on to keep your hair—and skin—in good shape for back-and-forth trips to the studio and live shows?
I keep it really simple. The past year I’ve been really eliminating chemicals in my life and I have a friend, Jessa Blades, who has a natural beauty blog, Blades Natural Beauty, so she helps me find alternatives. Like Priti nail polish—I just found this one nail polish, Spring Song, and it’s the same color as my album art! I use Lulu Organics hair powder—I love that stuff, it’s really good for a long tour. RMS Beauty has these little concealers that you can use as foundation for your whole face. I use it all over. The eyeliner that I use is from Zosimos, that’s a good eyeliner. I use Sprout Cream, this great and totally natural moisturizer. And then my favorite thing is at Whole Foods, they have these little rosewater bottles from Heritage Store. There’s a gardenia flower water that, especially in summer, I just carry it with me everywhere.

Au Revoir Simone was just featured in a Miu Miu short film earlier this year. Why do you think there’s such a strong connection between music and fashion?
It’s mutual muses or something. Ever since designers started using personalities and not always models, I feel like musicians have been integrated into that. And in the same equal way, musicians are onstage and always want to create a spectacle. Or not necessarily a spectacle, but create a mood. So I feel like that connection is inherent and we’ve been lucky enough to get to work with some of our favorite designers. The project with Miu Miu was really amazing.

Having spent so much time touring, do you have any summer packing advice?
Definitely pack light and just find those outfits that work. I used to bring lots of separates on tour that didn’t necessarily go with things, so I stopped doing that. And I recently realized that silk is the greatest thing to bring when traveling; you can clean it in five minutes in the shower, and you can wear it in summer or winter.

Photo: Courtesy of Frédéric Malle

Beauty And The Beat